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March 30, 2010 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-03-30

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8 - Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com



By Nicole Auerbach & Joe Stapleton
Daily Sports Editors


The Wolverines lose their
leading scorer, their go-to
guy over the past three
years. Sure, his numbers were
slightly down this year and he
barely made third team All-Big
Ten, certainly a step down from
previous seasons.
But as he showed in what is
now officially his final game
at Michigan - the Ohio State
heartbreaker in the Big Ten Tour-
nament - he's capable of single-
handedly taking over a game and
putting his team in position to
win it.
Harris was also the guy oppos-
ing defenses keyed on and tried
to shut down, which opened up
teammates when Harris drove
and dished.
Paired with the graduation of
senior forward DeShawn Sims,
Harris's departure isn't just
unfortunate - it's potentially
Who were Michigan's two lead-
ing scorers this year? ... Drumroll,
After Harris and Sims, who was
the third-leading scorer?
Current sophomore Zack
Novak, with seven points per
game. That's right - seven.
The fact is, Harris and Sims
were the only two Wolverines
who could create their own shots.
They were playmakers in the tru-
est sense of the word. Now that
they're gone, Michigan is left with
a roster full of complementary
That's not a dig at Novak or
sophomore Stu Douglass or fresh-
man Matt Vogrich. They are all

very capable players and could
surprise people next year. But
from what we've seen out of them
so far, it doesn't look like any of
them are ready to carry the scor-
ing load like Harris or Sims did.
One player who could step into
the playmaker role is freshman
Darius Morris.
The California native showed
flashes of big-time ability last
But that's the problem: Going
into next year, there are no sure
Will the shooting improve next
The players who are supposed
to be the team's best shooters
seemed to be cursed at times this
year, and who's to say that won't
happen again?
Will this year's redshirt fresh-
men, Blake McLimans and Jordan
Morgan, step up next year and
be able to bang in the post? Can
Morgan, who has been plagued
by injuries his first year, stay
All freshmen not named John
Wall and DeMarcus Cousins are
essentially toss-ups, and that
rule holds true for the recruiting
class Beilein has coming in next
year. The class isn't even entirely
secured, as Michigan is still wait-
ing on a decision from one of the
state's premier talents, Trey Zei-
The bottom line: Harris leaving
early leaves Michigan without its
two leading scorers and without a
proven playmaker.
It could be a very long year, to
say the least.

The average Michigan fan's
reaction: We're fucked.
It's understandable. The
Wolverines struggled this year with
two of the best players they've had
in years (the other being DeShawn
Sims, who is graduating), so they're
guaranteed to be terrible without
them, right?
Wrong. Yes, Michigan will miss
Manny. No, there doesn't appear to
be anyone on the team ready to step
in and fill the scoring role Harris
and Sims have vacated. This means
Michigan will have a hard time
especially early in the season.
But this doesn't mean the Wolver-
ines are doomed.
Here's the thing: Michigan coach
John Beilein didn't recruit Harris or
Sims. They were former Michigan
coach Tommy Amaker's recruits.
While Beilein came to Michigan
with two really, really talented play-
ers, they weren't necessarily ideal
for his system, which meant he had
to make adjustments.
Think of the stars Beilein had at
West Virginia, like Mike Gansey and
Kevin Pittsnogle. Both of those play-
ers were talented, but they also fit
perfectly into Beilein's system, one
that is predicated on shooting and
high basketball IQ. Even the center
in Beilein's system needs to be able
to step out and hit shots with all the
time he spends on the perimeter.
Beilein tried to mold both Harris
and Sims to fit into his system. Har-
ris played point guard for most of
his sophomore campaign, and Sims
steadily moved outside his junior
and senior years, finally becoming
a consistent threat from beyond the
arc midway through this year.

But in the end, it wasn't meant to
be. Harris is a guy who needs the
ball in his hands to make a differ-
ence. That isn't a bad thing - there
are few players in the country better
than Harris at creating their own
shot off the dribble and drawing
fouls - it just means that he was
never going to truly fit Beilein's sys-
tem. And near the end of this year,
Beilein realized Sims is at his best in
the low post, where he's one of the
most creative players around.
Now, Beilein doesn't exactly have
the Fab Five coming in next year, but
he has some exciting players who
seem to fit into his system. Evan
Smotrycz out of the New England
Prep League is a 6-foot-9 forward
who can shoot and play the wing;
Tim Hardaway Jr. out of Miami is
a lights-out shooter who averaged
more than 30 points per game this
year; Jon Horford out of Grand
Ledge, Michigan's most recent com-
mit and brother of Atlanta Hawk Al
Horford, an NBA All-Star, is a proj-
ect, but he's undeniably talented.
Next year also means Blake
McLimans and Jordan Morgan,
both of whom redshirted this sea-
son, will be making their debuts,
automatically giving the Wolverines
some newfound size in the post, if
Morgan can stay healthy.
While Harris declaring for the
draft may seem likea death blow to
Michigan's hopes for next year, it
does give Beilein a chance to move
on with some of his own recruits -
recruits he hand-picked for his sys-
tem, which has been proven to work.
Don't run for the hills just yet,
Michigan fans. There's plenty of
room for optimism next year.



Former Wolverine Manny Harris led Michigan in scoring last season, and with-
out him, the Wolverines may struggle to find a top scoring threat. After Harris
and senior DeShawn Sims, the highest-scoring Wolverine this season was Zack
Novak, with seven points per game on average.

SPORTS ON Katzman to get first start since injury
@mchdailysports DailySports Writer
It's been a longtime since senior
left-hander Eric Katzman has
toed the rubber in a starting role
for the Mich-
igan baseball m
team. Eat4
Just 'over Michigan
* l10 and a half
months to be Eastern10-14;
- 3 exact - he Michigan12-9
.os. .. estarted the
Wolverines' When: Today
second-to- 3P.
last game Where: Ray
*l of the sea- Fshen Stadum+
son, on May Live Blog: michi-
16 against gandailycom
Northwest- ''

Back then, Michigan (12-9) was
30-23, and Katzman's loss helped
seal the team's postseason-less
fate. The circumstances will be
slightly different when the senior
makes his first start since offsea-
son hernia surgery against East-
ern Michigan Tuesday afternoon
at Ray Fisher Stadium.
The Wolverines have won six
straight games and finally have
some momentum after an incon-
sistent start to the season. The
Eagles (10-14), like Michigan's
last tiao opponents, Fordham and
Indiana University-Purdue Uni-
versity Fort Wayne, are a beatable.
Of course, that was also the
case in 2009, when Eastern came
into Ann Arbor and left with a
3-1 upset victory. That result is
still in the players' minds, despite
the opening of Big Ten play and a
trip to Indiana scheduled for this
"We're going to go out there and
try and take that game, obvious-
ly," Senior catcher and co-captain
Chris Berset said after Saturday's
12-3 victory over the Mastodons.
"We haven't forgot last year, so it's
probably a little motivation right
there. We can't look past anybody
and ... last year we lost to them so
we can't really look past them this
The coaches have brought
Katzman along slowly this sea-
son, as he continues to recover
from his operation. Katzman has
appeared in relief four times this
season, most recently with his
performance in Friday's victory.
He threw one inning and
allowed one walk, but he also
struck out two and appeared to be
close to normal form.
"I felt much, much improve-

Senior Eric Katzman had to recover from hernia surgery this past offseason.

ment," Katzman said. "Each week
it's gotten extremely better and
today was a day where I felt I
could help the team out. (Sitting
out has) been tough, but I've been
trying to help out in other ways.
It feels real good to finally be out
there and putting up zeros."
The Eagles average seven runs a
game and are hitting just .289 as a
team. The matchup against EMU
should serve as a great opportuni-
ty for Katzman to ease back onto
the mound.
To compare, both squads have
played Jacksonville State this sea-
son. Michigan scored 33 runs in
two blowout wins over the Game-
cocks, while Eastern managed
just 23 in three games.
But after last year's result and
the way the early part of this sea-
son went, don't expect an over-

confident effort out of the gate.
The team will be looking to back
it's senior starter in his return.
"We're going to keep trying to
build him up," Michigan coach
Rich Maloney said of the injury.
"When he gets back to 100 percent
we'll be a lot better team because
he was our best returning pitcher
and he hasn't pitched much yet. I
feel like there's just been a lack of
strength since his hernia opera-
tion. Hopefully we can get him
back to form."
INJURY NOTES: When junior
outfielder Ryan LaMarre original-
ly went out with a broken thumb,
the prognosis had him out for six
weeks - putting him back in the
lineup this weekend against the
But his status is still unclear.
Though he has been rehabilitat-

ing as swiftly as possible, Maloney
said he might not be ready to play
in Bloomington (though he would
definitely be back by next week-
end's series against Purdue).
"Day by day," Maloney said. "If
he can end up playing, certainly
we would love to have him out
there. But we need to make sure
he is feeling really good before we
do that."
Meanwhile, the team's bad luck
with thumbs continued this week-
end. Redshirt freshman Kevin
Krantz, who was one of a host
of players attempting to replace
LaMarre in the lineup, fractured
his thumb in the fourth inning.
Krantz will see a hand special-
ist to determine whether he needs
surgery. It is unknown how long
he will be out until he receives
that evaluation.

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